A Regina man who remembers eating popcorn and talking about The Doors with Charles Manson said he has mixed feelings about the death of the cult leader, although he was always very aware of his horrific crimes.
Marlin Marynick wrote a book about Manson, who died on Sunday at age 83. He had been in custody for what came to be known as the Tate-LaBianca murders since October 1969, most recently at California's Corcoran State Prison.
The Regina author got to know Manson over a period of years.
He said the notorious cult leader sought him out because he wanted to make a film, and he heard Marynick had contacts in the film industry.
"He wanted to dress up like a general and have me dress up like a soldier and command all the armies in the world to stop fighting each other and start fighting pollution," Marynick told CBC Radio's Blue Sky on Monday.
"It was a bizarre conversation. I remember him asking me what kind of insects I liked, and he wanted to know just basically what Saskatchewan was about.
"He had heard of it but he didn't know nothing about just living in the Prairies in winter."
Marynick is a psychiatric nurse in Regina who has worked in prisons and jails and has been a frontline worker for more than 20 years.
He grew up knowing Manson as a "boogeyman." He read about Manson's mind games and his theory about a looming race war called Helter Skelter.
But he said meeting Manson was more surreal than frightening.
"Probably, indirectly, [it] is one of the reasons that led me into a career in psychiatry, and now I'm sharing a bag of popcorn with the guy talking about The Doors," said Marynick.
He said it was a "leap of faith" on Manson's part to trust him with the book, Charles Manson Now.
It was based on interviews with Manson, most of them over the phone, over a period of years. Marynick said there were long periods of time when he was unable to talk to Manson because his unruly behaviour had him stripped of his phone privileges.
When they did talk, Manson often used the phone system for "venting."
"Some days you'd get a really angry Charlie, really threatening, that kind of feel to it," he said.
"Sometimes he's really, almost desperate and childlike. Sometimes he's … grandiose."
Marynick said his book sold more than 80,000 copies, although he never received any compensation because he did not own the rights until recently.
"There's a curse that goes with Charles Manson and the book was kind of one of them," he said.
He said he now plans to revisit the book, correct what he said were errors, and add additional information.
The last time Marynick spoke to Manson was about eight months ago. He said the cult leader seemed to be in poor health, and he was less and less connected with people in the outside world.
Although he said he was always conscious of the horrific nature of Manson's crimes, he has mixed feelings about his death.
"I know the guy very intimately, very well and it's been quite the adventure the whole book and Manson experience for sure," he said.